New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp for a Crowd

With a double whammy of smoke and spice, this Big Easy party favorite will get everybody talking.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    30 minutes


By Zella Palmer

Published on January 3, 2024

New Orleans barbecue shrimp are not actually barbecued or doused in barbecue sauce—the shrimp are simply sautéed in a generous amount of butter and spices. According to Zella Palmer, director and chair of the Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture at Dillard University in New Orleans, the dish got its name long ago, when “a Chicago businessman raved about the “barbecue” shrimp he had eaten in New Orleans. But it was more likely that he was referring to shrimp at Pascal’s Manale, which was and is famous for its barbecue shrimp.” 

Palmer chose to contribute this recipe to Klancy Miller’s cookbook For the Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food because she wanted to highlight the abundance of local shrimp available in the Gulf Coast. To that end, she highly recommends using Louisiana shrimp to make this dish.

Excerpted from For the Culture: Phenomenal Black Women and Femmes in Food by Klancy Miller. Copyright © 2023. From Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. crab boil seasoning
  • ½ tsp. Creole seasoning
  • 3 lb. head-on, shell-on jumbo shrimp
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley leaves
  • French bread, for serving


Step 1

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. 

Step 2

In a large cast-iron skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the rosemary, brown sugar, paprika, crab boil, and Creole seasoning. Add the shrimp and cook, turning and basting continuously with the seasoned butter, until they are completely pink, 3–5 minutes. 

Step 3

Bake until the shrimp are cooked through, 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Squeeze one lemon wedge over the shrimp and sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve immediately with the bread and remaining lemon wedges.

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